CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Fitch Ratings today published its fourth edition of the 'High Yield Retail Checkout', which provides a comprehensive analysis of the leveraged finance retail sector.
The report profiles 20 of the largest high-yield retail and apparel companies. Each company report includes Fitch's assessment of the business and financial profile, and provides a detailed capital structure, debt organizational chart, and covenant analysis.
While the macro environment has improved over the past year, a variety of challenges, including online competition, reduced store traffic and persistent pressure on low-income consumers, will continue to constrain the overall performance of many leveraged retailers, in Fitch's view.
Department stores, which serve as anchor tenants to major regional malls, and categories such as consumer electronics, toys, office supplies and, more recently, apparel, are facing the most competition from online retailers and discounters.
E-commerce sales currently account for approximately 13% of retail sales but almost 50% of retail sales growth. Fitch expects online sales will grow in the low teens over the next couple of years and surpass $300 billion in 2016, while sales excluding online will grow at a modest 1.5%-2.0%. An intense promotional environment is therefore a permanent reality as retailers fight for a share of this modest growth.
Issuers with positive trajectory include Burlington Stores, Inc.; Hanesbrands Inc.; Levi Strauss & Co.; PVH Corporation, and Rite Aid Corporation. These issuers should continue to see growth in both top-line and EBITDA, and see further improvement in their credit metrics over the next 12-24 months.
Issuers with negative trajectory include Sears Corporation and The Gymboree Corporation, which will continue to face significant pressure on their businesses. Toys 'R' Us, Inc., Claire's Stores, Inc., and The Bon-Ton Stores, Inc. have seen a material stepdown in EBITDA, and while liquidity is adequate over the next 24 months, Fitch remains concerned about the long-term viability of these businesses given the operating headwinds and highly levered balanced sheets.
The following companies are profiled in the report:
Best Buy Co., Inc.
Bon-Ton Stores, Inc. (The)
Burlington Stores, Inc.
Claire's Stores, Inc.
GNC Holdings Inc.
Gymboree Corporation (The)
J.C. Penney Company, Inc.
J.Crew Group Inc.
Levi Strauss & Co.
L Brands, Inc.
Michaels Stores, Inc.
Neiman Marcus Group LTD Inc.
Rite Aid Corporation
Sally Beauty Holdings, Inc.
Sears Holdings Corporation
Toys 'R' Us, Inc.
The full report 'High Yield Retail Checkout' is available at www.fitchratings.com. Fitch's 2015 outlook report for the U.S. retail sector is also available.
Additional information is available at 'www.fitchratings.com'.
Applicable Criteria and Related Research: High-Yield Retail Checkout
(Comprehensive Analysis of Major High-Yield Retailers)